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NCWM (The National Conference of Weights and Measures) oversees organizations and companies that market items with weights or measures to maintain standards across the industry. NCWM came to SPINX hoping to modernize their website appearance and make their platform easier to use for both staff and site goers alike.
NCWM needed a website that was intuitive for its users and could store various administrative data points, and SPINX was up to the challenge to help them achieve this.
While NCWM’s previous website served them well for many years, they all agreed it was time to modernize, especially with the new decade in mind. They had a plethora of data that needed to be better organized and the layout of the site was complicated for users to navigate.
Meeting with them for our initial kickoff provided clarity on the project’s direction. They were receptive to our aesthetic ideas and were on the same page regarding the functionality and practicality of the website.
We followed our initial discovery with a series of user interviews and tests, gathering insights from each use case at NCWM to gain a better understanding of the familiarity and frustrations with the existing interface. These exercises focused on the NTEP certificate search, event registration, membership, and access to resources.
Our findings led us to an array of solutions. NCWM holds an impeccable reputation in its community, so any adjustments must respect the long-time users' site fluency while alleviating their need to work around the current site's kinks. Additionally, when we provide a more modern aesthetic, it was crucial to avoid inundating the site with imagery or graphics as fast page load speed was one of the favored elements across all users.
We focused on optimizing accessibility. One facet of this involved a better sitemap. NCWM has all the information their target audience needs, but it was a matter of pointing users in the right direction. By trimming down the abundance of "quick links" to a most-frequented highlight reel, providing bulletproof primary navigation, annotating membership-only pages, and facilitating browsing via mega menus in the secondary navigation, we created a more precise line to the necessary resources. We mitigated the feeling of hitting a "dead end." On-page, we decided to bring much more contrast to the typography through size, color, and font choices. Pairing this with content organization tools like the use of type hierarchy, tabs, and accordions, pages became much more scannable and no longer required users to zoom into screens, attempting to read walls of text.
While there was hesitancy by a few of our users around lengthy online forms, we hoped to quell concerns via clearer messaging for successes and errors as well as delivering a more transparent process timeline for users to understand the flow and commitment.
SPINX decided to build the NCWM website using our propriety .Net content management system (CMS). After careful consideration, we determined our .Net software would be the simplest way for the NCWM administration team to manage the various forms information users fill out on the website. NCWM’s previous CMS was challenging to organize and was not very intuitive, so we created the front and back-end of the website with diligence to make sure it was easy for users and administrators to use the site alike efficiently. Building this on our .Net platform provided flexibility so NCWM could customize high-traffic pages like applications, meetings, sector groups, exams, and more. SPINX also customized code to allow for seamless integration of NTEP Certificates, Publications and Handbooks, Exams, and Membership Applications. There is also a simple place for NCWM admins to manage all their files on the back-end.
The NCWM team worked in tandem with SPINX to ensure everything worked properly before launch. The testing included both parties testing the various forms and applications applied to the website. It was essential to have the site functioning correctly immediately post-launch as users were approaching the site with high-traffic to renew their memberships and maintenance fees. SPINX put themselves in the shoes of a user to test as accurately as possible. We ensured the website responded well on different screen sizes like desktops, laptops, tablets, and on mobile. NCWM previously had issues with individual pages on Internet Explorer, so SPINX prioritized effective testing on various browsers. We continued to monitor the website after the site’s launch to gauge the user experience and continued to optimize accessibility.
As SPINX reflects on our relationship with NCWM, we can note the project resulted in an easier to use website that will serve NCWM for many years to come. The admin-end of the website is more straightforward for the NCWM team to manage while the display of the website is modern and intuitive. Users are finding it easier to navigate the site while NCWM staff is happy with the management of the back-end. The website will continue to help NCWM as they host meetings and obtain new memberships.
The new NCWM website is the perfect blend of aesthetic design and functionality - its simple interface makes the process much easier on its users.
The NCWM team was a delight to work with. Their collaboration and cooperation helped deliver a new website that both parties can be proud of. This project was unique for SPINX in the sense that it was our largest data-driven project - there was integral importance to managing user data and information in an effective way. This project took us out of our comfort zones, and we look forward to applying what we've learned with NCWM to future websites.